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Decreasing caloric intake by 500 calories a day can help you lose a pound a week. However, if your current intake exceeds the calories you burn in a day, decreasing 500 calories per day may only help you slow your weight gain and might not result in weight loss.
Stick to Water
Assess your daily fluids for hidden sources of calories. Water should be your main source of hydration throughout the day. Removing all sodas, energy drinks, flavored coffees and sports drinks can lead to a decrease of 500 calories. Also, stop or decrease your consumption of alcohol during the week. One can of beer has 150 calories, a 5-ounce glass of wine has 130 calories and a 1-ounce shot of liquor contains 70 calories. These calories from alcohol are unnecessary and above and beyond your daily caloric needs.
Do Not Eat After Dinner
Due to the high caloric density of today's traditional foods, calorie needs are usually met by dinnertime. This means eating desserts or evening snacks would be considered overconsumption or overeating. A 2011 study published in the journal "Obesity" linked caloric intake after 8 p.m. to a higher risk of obesity. Shorter sleep duration, fast food consumption and going to bed late were also noted to increase obesity risk.
Choose Fresh Foods
Focus on fresh foods while avoiding processed foods. Many processed foods, snacks and prepackaged meals and mixes have more calories and fat than a comparable fresh and natural item. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, which often have fewer than 100 calories, instead of snacking on potato chips and cookies, which could easily add more than 200 calories. When cooking, modify recipes to include light or reduced-fat ingredients. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of whole milk, use skim milk to cut 70 calories
Keep a Food Journal
Awareness can also be important when you are trying to cut 500 calories for the day. Try websites and apps that operate as digital food journals and calculate daily caloric intake, such as My Fitness Pal, SparkPeople and Lose It. Record everything you eat to see how quickly calories add up, especially mindless snacks throughout the day. Using a food journal will remove the guessing from the numbers and make staying within your caloric needs easier.